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Death Investigation in Lawrence County

Date of News Release: 06/01/2015

(Ashland, KY) -- The Kentucky State Police in Ashland is investigating a death which occurred Friday, May 29, 2015 at approximately 9:30 pm in Lawrence County, Kentucky.

On Friday May 29, 2015 Sergeant Steven Wilburn, of the Louisa Police Department, was attending the Lawrence County High School Graduation and observed a vehicle being operated by Billy J. Collins drive off the roadway, into a grassy area and continued into a ditch before getting stuck. Sergeant Wilburn made contact with Collins and determined he was operating the motor vehicle with a suspended Kentucky Operator's License and did not have proper vehicle insurance. Collins also began acting in an inappropriate manner by yelling and cursing toward individuals attending the graduation ceremony.

Billy J. Collins, age 56, of Louisa (Lawrence County) was arrested and charged with:

Driving on a Suspended Kentucky Operator's License
Failure to Maintain Insurance
Disorderly Conduct

Collins was transported to the Louisa Police Department where he refused to comply with all officer commands. Sergeant Wilburn called for assistance when Collins became combative, striking Sergeant Wilburn multiple times. Collins then fled into the foyer area of the Louisa Police Department and barricaded himself inside the facility. Additional officers with the Louisa Police Department and Lawrence County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene to assist. A member of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department deployed his agency issued taser through a small crack in the door, striking Collins. The taser was ineffective and Collins removed the probes. Sergeant Wilburn was then able to gain access to the foyer through a secondary door. After failing again to comply with the commands of Sergeant Wilburn, he deployed his agency issued taser striking Collins. The taser was effective, but Collins continued to resist and would not comply with officer's commands. Officer's on scene continued struggling with Collins and issued strikes with closed empty hands and also with their agency issued asp as Collins remained combative. After the struggle, Collins was restrained and placed in a seated position.

Officer's, quickly requested EMS respond to the Police Department and prior to their arrival Collins began exhibiting signs of a medical emergency. Netcare EMS provided medical assistance and transported Collins to Three Rivers Medical Center where he later died.

An autopsy was conducted on Billy J. Collins on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the State Medical Examiners Office in Frankfort, KY. The final report is pending additional examination and will be available once complete. Prior medical issues are being reviewed and examined as part of the investigation. At this time, results of the preliminary investigation do not indicate criminal actions involving any law enforcement officers. The death remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police.

The following agencies responded and assisted during the course of the investigation: Netcare EMS, Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, Louisa Police Department, and the Lawrence County Coroner's Office.

Case remains under investigation by Detective Christopher Carter.